I listen to a variety of Podcasts, including All In The Mind, “Radio National’s weekly foray into all things mental,” and generally like it. As I’m known to do, I take exception (or get annoyed) with particular segments. The two podcasts I listened to today irked me especially. The first was a discussion of Placenta Brain, and the general consensus was that it doesn’t exist. I know of this phenomenon by it’s alternative name, Mummy Mind, and I have seen it in all of the women I am close to who have borne children. The general theories go like this: somehow (possibly due to hormones) women become different during pregnancy, often exhibiting behaviours they wouldn’t normally, like leaving their car running when running an errand, and being surprised to see if running when they return. I would go somewhat further than this. Bearing children permanently damages their minds. My sister, who was a perfectly normal, intelligent person, suddenly started making inane comments about all sorts of things. Something which she had not done before giving birth to my favourite nephew. I had grown up with my mother making crazy statements (often obvious ones) and had just put this down to it being her. After my sister had her baby, if occurred to me that Mum had been smart in her youth (her school reports, and discussion with friends and family from that era confirm this) and had simply lost her marbles (not totally) after giving birth. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my mother and sister very much. I don’t profess that they are totally bonkers, just not as “sharp” as they used to be. And giving birth seems to be, for both of them, the turning point in their lives as intelligent individuals. More than just the impairment during pregnancy, I think it seems to linger… • The second podcast was an interview with a Jewish Psychiatrist practicing in Israel, and treating both Israelis and Palestinians. This seemed to set him off on a good path, but he started to throw in some pretty inane language himself, particularly some of the Jungian Jargon (Always Alliterate!!!) and I quickly lost respect for him. It’s the first Podcast for a long time I have skipped the end of. His discussion of recurring dreams was a particular annoyance of mine: I can’t find the exact quote in the transcript, but it was something like:
The thing about recurring dreams is that they are telling the mind something. And the fact they repeat is because the mind “just doesn’t get it.”
I’m still of the impression that dreams have very little relation to reality. If we can see something in our dreams, it is only because we want to. Dreams are like “random events”, or spring cleaning of the brain’s circuitry. Any relationship to real life is only because there are all these events, images, sounds, memories, and our mind just attempts to fit them into what it perceives as reality. Forcing the facts to fit a theory, as it were. Anyway, he started to go on with a bit of rubbish after that - I’d arrived home (hardest ride I’d had for a while, pretty much head-wind all of the way home, with a bit of a rise for the last kilometre or so), and often while I continue to the end, I skipped it. • Now, before I get too many nasty comments about the first part - please note that I’ve deliberately played it up a little. My family are not loopy (perhaps just a little, but that’s a whole other story). I’m merely stating the anecdotal evidence I have seen about cognitive deterioration during, and indeed after, pregnancy. And, I have some other cases, but I’m saving them for my paper on the topic… after all, Fraud, ahem, Freud, Jung’s mentor, based all of his theories on a handful of cases.